The neural basis of monitoring goal progress


The neural basis of progress monitoring has received relatively little attention compared to other sub-processes that are involved in goal directed behavior such as motor control and response inhibition. Studies of error-monitoring have identified the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) as a structure that is sensitive to conflict detection, and triggers corrective action. However, monitoring goal progress involves monitoring correct as well as erroneous events over a period of time. In the present research, 20 healthy participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) while playing a game that involved monitoring progress toward either a numerical or a visuo-spatial target. The findings confirmed the role of the dACC in detecting situations in which the current state may conflict with the desired state, but also revealed activations in the frontal and parietal regions, pointing to the involvement of processes such as attention and working memory (WM) in monitoring progress over time. In addition, activation of the cuneus was associated with monitoring progress toward a specific target presented in the visual modality. This is the first time that activation in this region has been linked to higher-order processing of goal-relevant information, rather than low-level anticipation of visual stimuli. Taken together, these findings identify the neural substrates involved in monitoring progress over time, and how these extend beyond activations observed in conflict and error monitoring.

DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00688

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@inproceedings{Benn2014TheNB, title={The neural basis of monitoring goal progress}, author={Yael Benn and Thomas Llewelyn Webb and Betty P. I. Chang and Yu-Hsuan Sun and Iain D. Wilkinson and Tom F. D. Farrow}, booktitle={Front. Hum. Neurosci.}, year={2014} }